No. 25 Tulane rides big early wave to down Memphis
Jha’Quan Jackson’s 90-yard punt return highlighted Tulane’s 35-point first half Saturday afternoon, leading the No. 25 Green Wave to a 38-28 victory over the Memphis Tigers in New Orleans, Louisiana.
After entering the Top 25 last Sunday for the first time since 1998, Tulane (7-1, 4-0) rode that momentum by scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter and adding two more in the next in the explosive half.
The Green Wave’s Michael Pratt rushed for a score and went 20 of 29 for 158 yards and a TD to Duece Watts. Tyjae Spears carried 24 times for 125 yards with a score. Shaadie Clayton-Johnson also found the end zone.
In losing its third straight, Memphis (4-4, 2-3) rallied behind Seth Henigan, who finished 26 of 41 for 312 yards with three scoring passes — two to Eddie Lewis, one to Koby Drake — and two interceptions. Brandon Thomas had a rushing TD.
In front of its second-ever sellout — a record 30,100 fans — at on-campus Yulman Stadium, Tulane got a short run from Pratt on the opening series. Ninety seconds later, Jackson fielded Joe Doyle’s 59-yard punt and sprinted 90 yards for a 14-0 lead before the first quarter’s midpoint.
Tulane’s Tylo Phillips recovered a muffed punt at the end of the home side’s second possession. Spears had a scoring run of three yards to push it to 21-0. Then Clayton-Johnson’s four-yard TD run ended a 70-yard drive.
After Larry Brooks’ interception of Henigan, Tulane scored again when Pratt struck Watts from six yards for a 35-0 lead near the half’s end.
At 8:48 of the third, Drake finished a 13-play, 75-yard drive by grabbing a seven-yard pass from Henigan for Memphis’ first points. He then hit Lewis for 33 yards to trim it to 35-14. Early in the fourth, Thomas’ short run cut the deficit to two scores.
However, Valentino Ambrosio’s 25-yard field goal moved it to a 17-point lead.
Lewis went 55 yards on his second receiving TD with 4:23 left.
Jarius Monroe’s end-zone interception of Henigan with 18 seconds remaining sealed the win — just Tulane’s third victory in the past 16 meetings in the series.
–Field Level Media